Mess Speeches

G'Day, I've recently been spammed to give a couple of speeches at a Mess dinner, one about the Mess Bell, and one about the Mess Anteroom. I've tried Googling but not much decent info is available. If any of you have previously given said speeches any assistance would be greatfully appreciated. Below is what I've got for the Mess Bell and I would appreciate any further embellishments for the fun factor:


A number of messes within the Australian Army, particularly Sergeants’ messes, have a bell which is used to bring the mess members to order for a particular announcement, e.g. the arrival of a guest or for an announcement by the Mess President. The bell is usually in the shape and design of a ship’s bell and in some cases that is exactly what the bells are. Two examples of this type of bell are in the Regimental Sergeants’ Messes of both the Royal Australian Engineers and the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.

I did have a write up about the bells in the Engineer Corps mess but thought it more appropriate to talk about the history of the bell belonging to this Mess.

After the battle of the River Plate in the South Atlantic in December 1939, an enterprising British Tommy serving on the HMS Exeter, liberated the bell from a German Mini Sub U Boat, MSU-42, as he thought he would be able to make a few bob after the war selling it on for it’s brass. Obviously not the sharpest tool in the box, he then had it liberated from his possession by a slightly quicker witted Digger, serving his time with the newly formed Airborne unit attached to the British 1st Airborne Division, undergoing training prior to the drop on Arnhem in Sept 1944.

Unfortunately, a change in strategy disbanded this unit prior to Operation Market Garden, but the Digger had the foresight to keep kept hold of the bell. On his return to Australia, the bell was presented to the Soldier’s unit in Puckapunyal, then bouncing round various units in Victoria, before finally finding it’s way back to the Australian Airborne unit, 3 RAR

Should there be anyone interested in a more detailed history of this bell, please see me after the dinner and I’ll give you more of the unofficial history.

Of such things traditions are made.

Mr President, Sirs, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Mess Bell.

As you will undoubtably be able to tell, I've actually made it all up, but hey ho, I'm hoping there won't be any history buffs at the dinner.

Over to you ladies and gents......................
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